Harold Furner

Harold Hughes (Bob) Furner

Block 10 Stromlo District - Property Name: 'The Rivers'

Harold Hughes (Bob) Furner was born the 20th August 1899 to Oswald and Mary Furner in Goulburn, NSW. He was 18 years old when he enlisted in Sydney on the 18th February 1918. Furner served in Egypt with the 1st Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron and returned to Australia on the 16th May 1919. He was formally discharged on the 12th November 1919.

In 1925, Furner was successful in securing the 1130 acre (457 hectare) Soldier Settlement Stromlo Block 10. Furner's previous farming experience included 12 months at the Wagga Experimental Farm in 1916, 18 months on his brother's dairy farm at Crookwell, NSW and a further two and half years at Tupra Station near Hay, NSW.

Initially Stromlo Block 10 had been allocated to Thomas Patrick Leonard of Yass, NSW. Unlike the other Soldier Settlers applying for land in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Thomas Leonard was a veteran of the Boer War. After Leonard failed to respond to his successful application, the block was offered to Furner who accepted and moved onto it in early 1926. Furner named his block The Rivers.

Plan of Stromlo Block 10

Plan of Stromlo Block 10 1926 - Click on plan for larger view.

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In June 1926, Furner successfully applied to the Federal Capital Commission (FCC) for permission to erect cottage. The weatherboard cottage consisted of two 12 x 12 foot (3.6 x 3.6 metres) rooms.

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Stromlo Block 10 boundary in red

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Stromlo Block 10 boundary in red.

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By December 1926, Furner had decided to give up his lease. Setting out his reasons in a letter to Lands Officer, James Brackenreg, he wrote:

"The country carries little feed and is too rough and precipitous for any except very strong sheep and a clean muster is almost impossible." He continued "I consider I have tested this paddock thoroughly and can find no means of making it pay rent."

In a further effort to cancel his lease Furner wrote the following Statutory Declaration in June 1927:

"My chief and essential reason for wishing to sell my grazing lease on Block 10 Stromlo is that my mother having now to live with me, I cannot stay longer on the tablelands on account of her health."

Furner wrote of his intent to move to Western Australia as the climate would be better for his mother's health and his Uncle had promised him "a start". The FCC accepted his reasons for a transfer of the lease, however the move to Western Australia does not appear to have taken place. The electoral rolls show both Furner and his mother to be living in Crookwell in 1930. From 1936, Harold remained on the electoral rolls for Cooma and Mary for Goulburn until their deaths.

The lease for Stromlo Block 10, now being called Piney Creek, was transferred to Arthur Eugene Gates on the 7th October 1927 for £1,175. Gates who was from Parkville near Scone, NSW was also a returned serviceman although his lease was not part of the Soldier Settlement Scheme.

In 1932, Harold Furner moved to Cooma, NSW with his new wife Edith Lillian Green. They lived there until their deaths in 1986.


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